6 Reasons Entrepreneurs Should Learn Another Language

It is hard to contest the intrinsic power of language on human behaviors. One such behavior is that of your clients. Studying a new language also means studying how the native speakers of that language choose and combine words and phrases to behave in a certain way. One thing successful entrepreneurs know really well is the habits of their customers. 

It is a tall order to either acquire this knowledge or make it work for your business unless you are able to speak the language of the people your commercial success is dependent on, whether it be your peers or your customers. Thus, language becomes a lens into human behavior. If you use this lens pragmatically to further your business goals and turn language training into a fun experience, the subsequent benefits will far outweigh the training costs. Let’s take a closer look at the specific reasons for learning a new language to maximize the benefits of your business model.

1. Understanding Local Context. Entrepreneurship is a process that involves multiple parties and stakeholders. Interactions between them evolve in different contexts, which vary from culture to culture and region to region. It is in and through this web of relationships and transactions that customer behavior is shaped and influenced. 

A customer in a newly emerging market might be more prone to impulse shopping, whereas a client in a developed country is more likely to make calculated and well-weighted decisions. By learning and using the language of any given target population, an entrepreneur increases his or her chances of understanding and internalizing all the specific and varying factors affecting customer behavior and subsequent decisions. This is why it’s important for entrepreneurs to use localization services online, which goes beyond mere translation, to ensure that their products and services are tailored to their target audience. This could be key to ultimate success.

2. Stimulating Creativity. Any learning process boosts creativity. Language training probably does this on an even greater scale, as it challenges your creative mind as a testing ground for concepts and ideas expressed through a new language. The process triggers an intellectual exercise that helps you as an entrepreneur to better your creative thinking skills and strengthen your business acumen. After all, as Alfred Einstein argued, imagination may at times prove to be more important than knowledge. For an entrepreneur, it also means broadening horizons and moving the needle for a growth-oriented business.

3. Cultivating Self-Discipline. Learning another language is also a great way to improve your self-discipline as you get into a routine of setting realistic learning objectives, planning your study hours, gathering learning resources, and managing time. In this sense, there is a lot entrepreneurs can learn from students in terms of scheduling and managing their workload to improve professionally. Mastering a language requires a structured and systematic approach to the learning process. Essentially, this is a skill that is as beneficial for a diligent language student, as it is for a successful entrepreneur.

4. Cost-effectiveness. Another reason for language training is a really practical one, and it has to do with saving costs. Your investment in training will eventually have a great return on investment by saving costs on translation and interpretation. By virtue of understanding the local culture and local customer behavior, you won’t need to spend on external consultants or companies to guide you through the maze of cultural nuances and sensitivities that have implications for your business processes.

5. Staying Ahead of the Curve. Language training also positions you as an entrepreneur focused on change, innovation, and continuous improvement. For your business, this means staying ahead of the game as an enterprise with local knowledge. Your ability to manage business in another language could well be your competitive advantage over those who can only speak English or any other lingua franca. This also means being on top of your game and staying abreast of the contextual and cultural factors that affect your bottom line.

6. Strengthening Team Bonding. Language training is also a great way of building a better team, whether it be your co-workers learning together with you or your local employees. Despite requiring discipline, persistence, and dedication, language training can be fun too. If done creatively and as a group exercise, it may open up great opportunities for team building and bonding, the benefits of which are hard to overestimate.  

Overall, you should think of language training as a way of maximizing the efficiency of your business model. In this respect, it can be viewed as a crucial component of your localization efforts. The benefits of language training outweigh all the investment you’ll be making, as your business will be gaining from both tangible and intangible impacts on your workflows. It does provide opportunities for greater efficiencies and greater profits. As a success-oriented entrepreneur, you will be remiss to have missed them.